The West Coast Sofa by Way of Japan

Has Stephen Kenn created the ultimate masculine sofa? A self-taught designer who grew up in Edmonton, Canada, he arrived in LA in 2005 at age 20 and launched a denim line called Iron Army. Several years ago, he shifted his focus and made use of WWII military fabrics for upholstery.

What distinguishes Kenn’s work is its construction: When he set out to create a sofa, he decided to strip it down to its barest elements, likening the frame, webbing, and cushions to bones, muscles, and skin.

The results are impressive: Each sofa is handmade in LA and takes Kenn and his crew four to six weeks to complete (you can watch process videos on his site). Kenn’s designs have attracted other designers to come hang out with him.

I especially took notice when he unveiled his joint project with one of my (and Remodelista’s) longtime favorite companies, Truck Furniture of Japan.

He worked with Tok Kise of Truck, and then took a coastal motorcycle trip with him out of LA. How’s that for the California dream?

Above: The Stephen Kenn City Gym Sofa, $6,800, upholstered in US Navy blankets, shown in the West Village apartment of New York fashion director Nick Wooster.

Each of Kenn’s pieces has an exposed, welded metal frame that’s been rusted or oxidized and then coated with polyurethane to halt the aging process.

His designs are available directly through his studio. Photograph via Scene Magazine.

Above: The Stephen Kenn x Simon Miller Sofa is upholstered in hand-dyed indigo cotton canvas and has a copper-plated frame; $6,900.

Above: Kenn’s sofas all have a support structure of custom leather belts.

Above: Kenn and Tok Kise of Truck Furniture sent each other fabric for design inspiration.

The Cord Sofa is made in LA using Truck Furniture’s olive green wide wale corduroy from Japan; $6,500.

Above: The back of the sofa is detailed with leather and webbing belts modeled after 1940s Swiss military belts used to strap supplies on pack mules.

Above: A Stephen Kenn Inheritance Collection Sofa, $5,600, at Juice Sold Here in Venice, California.

Most of the Inheritance pieces are upholstered in repurposed World World II military canvas that’s been washed and softened.

Above: An Inheritance Collection Armchair, $2,600, and Ottoman, $800.

Kenn says that he likes his designs to tell stories via the work that goes into them and the tales old fabrics have to tell.

Stay tuned for Kenn’s in-progress collections of shelving, stacking benches, and outdoor furniture.

Got the inspiration from